The 1933 Report on the Museums & Art Galleries of Australia: past insights, future assessments

Be part of the conversation to consider changes in the museum sector since the 1933 Carnegie Report.
Wednesday 15 May: Join us for the first presentation in a series which explores the evolution of Australia's museums and galleries over the past nine decades.

In 1933 the Carnegie Corporation commissioned A Report on the Museums & Art Galleries of Australia. It offers a comprehensive post-Federation snapshot of the sector documenting funding models, collection development, resourcing, staffing and audience engagement. Ninety years on, many of the challenges it identified remain pertinent. Hindsight has revealed, however, some glaring omissions: including the absence of diversity and First Nations perspectives. As such it is a timely moment to consider how the sector has developed, what work still needs to be done, and the issues that the Carnegie Report failed to foresee.

This series of four talks will explore the original context and themes of the Carnegie Report, to learn from the past and assess the challenges of the next 90 years of museum practice in Australia.

Presentation One:
The 1933 Carnegie Report: background and overview 
Dr Anna Lawrenson & Dr Chiara O’Reilly (The University of Sydney)
Wednesday 15 May, 1-2pm

Join us for the introductory talk of the series in which a historical overview of the Carnegie Report is discussed. In 1933, the Carnegie Report identified the “lack of funds, lack of curatorship, and consequent lack of public interest” as key challenges that the Australian museum sector needed to urgently address. This talk will inaugurate the series in its aims to identify developments in Australian museums over the intervening 90 years and highlight the emerging challenges and opportunities that were unforeseen in 1933.

About the speakers

Dr Anna Lawrenson has been a Lecturer in Museum Studies and in the Discipline of Art History at the University of Sydney since 2010. Anna's career has spanned critical museology and applied practice having worked in academia and the arts sector over a number of years. She is particularly interested in how the funding, history and administration of public museums and galleries influences their public offer in terms of brand, exhibitions and programs. 

Dr Chiara O'Reilly is the Director of the Postgraduate Museum and Heritage Studies Program at the University of Sydney, with research interests in the history and development of museum exhibitions, and the historical context of blockbuster exhibitions.

Together they authored The Rise of the Must-See Exhibition: Blockbusters in Australian Museums and Galleries in 2019.

Presentation Two
August 2024

Presentation Three
September 2024

Presentation Four
November 2024

Header image: Nicholson Museum, 1934


Event details

Presentation One: The 1933 Carnegie Report: background and overview

Wednesday 15 May 2024
1.00PM - 2.00PM
Nelson Meers Foundation Auditorium
General Admission: $5, Members + Students: Free
Book now